After the Fact

Little Susy-Paper Doll
“Little Susy”

When the first spark of creativity hits it isn’t always about the meaning of the piece.  It isn’t always about the reason you are drawn to a specific image or scrap of cloth.  That remains the secret part that will speak to you but only if you seek it out and look for it…after the fact.

At least it is for me.  My approach is serendipitously random that seems to hit in cycles.  Like a seed being planted, ideas germinate, sometimes for years, then life energy enters and it grows.  I start pulling items that speak to me, unconsciously matching color and hues then moving to form and shape.  Accepting and rejecting from my “stashes of possibility” as vintage mixes with contemporary.  Finally, adding bits of the amusing because it can’t be helped.

The pieces surprisingly slide together like a jigsaw puzzle giving the same satisfaction of when a piece of a puzzle fits.  When the last piece is in place you think you are done.

There is a treasured time following that is often overlooked unless you are asked to explain the piece.  By looking under the surface you find another dimension of the creative process…a veiled message with meaning behind it.

Libby Custer Paper Doll
“Libbie Custer”

“Libbie” Custer introduced herself to me and her mission in life.  After the defeat at Battle of Little Bighorn, Libbie took it upon herself to publicly defend her husband General George Custer’s legacy since she was not willing for her husband to become a national scapegoat.  In her own right, as an accomplished author and speaker, it took on new meaning for her at the end of the war.  By my making a paper doll of Libbie, she once again found her voice as she encouraged me to defend and support my family’s honor and legacy.

Little Susy-Close Up
“Little Susy”

There’s more to “Little Susy” than just a pretty face.  It seems that joining the head of Raphael’s portrait of a young woman and a fashion models’ relaxed pose brought out a new version of Gretel from the opera “Hansel & Gretel” written in 1893 by Engelbert Humperdinck.  Imagine my surprise when I realized this Engelbert was not the pop singer of the 60s!

Little Flapper-Paper Doll
“Little Flapper”

When it was all said and done, I realized that the “Little Flapper” was the very likeness of my mother as a young woman.  Speaking more to me than I can say.

If I had started out with the intention of creating a version of Libbie Custer, Little Susy and a Little Flapper I would have been bogged down with my tendency to overthink.  However, by providing myself the opportunity to create, all of that was bypassed and took second place for me to discover…“After the Fact”.

Previously printed in Somerset Studio Gallery

Finding My Way Through Found Art


I always dreamed about being a “real” artist.  From the time I was a little girl I could see shapes and designs.  It went beyond seeing shapes in the clouds to seeing the faces that emerged in the tiles on our bathroom floor.  Although this sounds rather “spooky” that ability is still there when I look down at a remnant of rusty metal or a squashed bottle cap.  I am filled with awe because I couldn’t create that on purpose and it could have been unseen forever!  I must confess that I am a recycling trash collector.

Two of my favorite places for collecting, is in the gutters on streets and car washes.  Literally one man’s trash is definitely my treasure.  I go to great lengths to get my trash such as paying grandsons to go to the car washes to collect trash, to bribing, finally to ask for rusty trash for birthdays or Christmas presents.  Those closest to me bring me little offerings that fall into their paths – I hoard them like pirate treasure.

I have stashes of rusty metals just waiting to be put to use.  These stashes have perplexed my husband as to why I would want boxes of trash.  I assured him that there is something there even if I don’t know what it is yet.  He turns his head with a shake as I show him my hand sanitizer and assure him that my tetanus shots are up-to-date.

When “Mixed Media” became a classification of art – I had found my niche.  With the freedom of not having to explain myself nor my collections anymore, I was able to experiment.  Incorporating the techniques I’ve mastered over the years and my love of sewing, painting, designing, and re-purposing I could create unusual finished pieces.  The serendipity in the process of finding just the right piece to fit becomes a personal spiritual experience.  Now, while I don’t explain or apologize for my collections, I do have to explain Mixed Media Art.  It’s a world without limitations!

They say life is a journey.  I have explored the fascinating path of an artist.  It is not just putting paint to canvas; it is putting your heart on it – whatever way that is.  By following the path of a “creative” we can let loose the artists within.  Mixed Media & Found Art has given this self-taught artist the permission to call herself a recycling artist instead of a trash collector…


IMAG0068-1  This was originally publish in Somerset Studio magazine

“Once Upon a Time in 2009”

 Once upon a time in a land far from Ohio & Florida, there was a Little Eli Elf that wore “Yo-Ho-Ho” socks Christmas 2010 023
that he wouldn’t take off…unless his dad made him take them off for his bath. His shoes had flames on them that made him run reaaaalllly fast. Little Eli Elf had a big brother elf named Avery, which means “King of the Elves”. Christmas 2010 024 They had a Dad Christmas 2010 025 that made them take baths & change their socks…and a Mom Christmas 2010 027 who made them brush their teeth. Their reindeer had a shiny nose…her name was “Rudolf 2”

but her friends called her Josie. Christmas 2010 028

One snowy day (snowy??? Ha! It was a flippin’ blizzard!!!) Santa came to say, “Rudolf2, with your nose so bright, you & those two elves you hang out with are going to North Point Senior Living with me & hand out Christmas Cheer.”   Christmas 2010 029

Rudolf2 said “Okie-Dokie” since her mall date got cancelled & no-body messes with Santa two weeks before the big pay-out. She donned her antlers & polished her nose. We all piled in the 4-wheel drive sleigh & took off north.

I need to interject the fact that we were on time, however, the time we were tolded was not the time we would perform so we were held hostage for two hours in the “Activity Room” that did not have any activities. I’d also like to interject that I don’t look good in hats & this one was way too big & my jeans didn’t fit, I’m sure they shrunk & all of it is my friend Amber’s fault that we were way too early & the Activities Director didn’t know what to do with so many Millers…personally I think we intimidated her…I mean we had the “Big Guy” with us…you know? Anyway…we made do.

We entertained our-elves (get the…elves part?) 12-11-10_1203 (3)

Then it was Show Time! Santa was absolutely wonderful. A right jolly ole’ elf.

Eli Elf got a case of stage fright but got over it when I promised him a new car. Christmas 2010 038

King of the Elves did a wicked elf dance! Christmas 2010 039

It was a good day. Young and old love Santa. In fact one little resident jumped into Santa’s sleigh! We were going to put her in the Chorus Line. Well…almost…

.Christmas 2010 044

Rudolph2 was very sad the day ended…But Santa said…

“Don’t worry cause you’re on for next year Kiddo”

The End

“There’s Always Tomorrow”

In keeping a blog open a writer/blogger is faced with many starts, stalls, and stops. The few inner dialogues I have are:

  • “Why?…Because I want to.”
  • “What if you’re criticized?…What if you aren’t?”
  • “I don’t have time today…Then use the past of yesterday.”
  • The most famous is: “There’s always tomorrow….No, Do It Now.”

For the last year and a half I have put my personal creative outlets “on hold”. My sweet husband had some serious health issues but is recovering slowly. Thank You Father God!! I stalled. I completely stalled. While he was recovering I was recovering from the high vigilance of care taking as well as the fears of what could happen. It is interesting how many things come to the surface during times like that. So I, too, am recovering slowly.

On top of that he retired. We are dealing with that and have decided we will be comic relief to other couples facing retirement. Maybe later on down the road I will expound on the need to have creative outlets as we retire and grow just a bit older. Why don’t you join me and start your own journal online.

All of that to say that this “Ole’ Cowgirl is Back in the Saddle Again…Happy Trails to You”

Cow Girl Me